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OC Register: Angels pitcher Trevor Cahill is already lighting up radar guns and throwing cutters


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GLENDALE, Ariz. — Trevor Cahill hasn’t historically relied on velocity to succeed as a pitcher, but he pays attention to it. Sort of.

“I just throw it as hard as I can,” Cahill said, “then I look and see how fast it was.”

Cahill caught a glimpse of something special Monday. Making his second Cactus League start for the Angels, his fastball measured 95 mph on Camelback Ranch’s in-house radar gun against the Chicago White Sox. If accurate, that number represents true midseason form at a time when many pitchers are only beginning to ramp up.

After four seasons in a swingman role for the Diamondbacks, Braves, Cubs, Padres and Royals, Cahill returned to full-time starting duty in 2018 with the A’s, the team that drafted him out of Vista High in 2006. The 31-year-old translated his performance into a one-year contract with the Angels in December. He’ll make a base salary of $9 million.

Not only did Cahill log more innings (110) in 2018 than he had in four seasons prior, he did a rare thing in the process: his velocity trended up as the season went along. That makes the idea of a 95-mph fastball in March all the more appealing.

“A lot of it, as unfortunate as it is, I was on the DL with an Achilles thing,” Cahill said of his upward-trending speed last year. “It was kind of like a built-in rest for your arm. It’s unfortunate, but the bright side of it is that you feel more fresh when you build back up. Maybe not as powerful because I wasn’t able to lift or whatever, but my arm definitely felt a lot better. The training, too. I think there’s a lot more technology and knowledge about training baseball players. You can see that baseball players, in general, are more athletic than maybe before.

“Plus it’s just a survival thing. I feel like I have to throw hard to stay around.”

Primarily a sinkerballer over his 10-year career, Cahill relied less upon the pitch in 2018 than ever. That trend will continue in 2019, Angels manager Brad Ausmus said.

Cahill is also incorporating a cut fastball into his pitch mix. That could prove to be a unique weapon among the Angels’ projected right-handed starters (Jaime Barría, Matt Harvey and Felix Peña are the others).

“If he gets that where he can throw it with consistent movement in on left-handed hitters, that becomes a weapon and makes it much more effective against them,” Ausmus said.

COWART DEBUTS

Kaleb Cowart made a smashing Cactus League debut, hitting a grand slam in the fourth inning against veteran right-hander Randall Delgado. The switch hitter also hit a grand slam left-handed for the Angels last September.

In between slams, Cowart was released by the Angels, then the Mariners, then the Tigers. Now he’s back with the Angels again, one of several pitcher/position players in camp. He brought five different gloves to the afternoon game against the Chicago White Sox after throwing a bullpen in the morning.

Before Monday, Cowart said he hadn’t faced live pitching this year outside of four intrasquad at-bats in the Angels’ and Tigers’ camps. On Saturday, Cowart pitched to four batters in the Angels’ “B” game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

ALSO

Pitcher Andrew Heaney threw off flat ground for the second straight day as he recovers from inflammation in his left elbow. His next step is to throw a bullpen, at a date to be announced. … Infielder Zack Cozart was given a second straight day off after experiencing tightness in his calf Sunday. … Albert Pujols is scheduled to play three innings at first base Wednesday for the first time this spring, Ausmus said. … Shohei Ohtani took 20 swings against a coach throwing underhand soft toss in a batting cage. He then stood in to track pitches during Barría’s bullpen session.

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1 hour ago, Dochalo said:

when was the last time we heard something like this and it ended up being nothing come the regular season?  

Last spring training Heaney had the same issue. I think he missed his first start of the year was all. 

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